Moira relentlessly struck him, forcing him into a defensive stance. Her style was polished, and she wasted little to no movements, making John wonder how much effort she had invested. She was no mere a warrior with the skill she displayed.

The violent clinging sounds produced by the clashing swords were like daggers piercing the hearts of Henry and Terry. Even if they wanted to intervene, they wouldn't be able to do a thing as the battle unfolding before them was too fierce.

After a few minutes of incessant strikes, John's stamina was starting to wear thin and his sharp evading maneuvers suffered and started becoming sloppy. Even if he was training under Eloise for the last few months, it couldn't erase all the time he had been lazying around during the past years.

In comparison, Moira was still as fiery as ever and seized the opportunity to land what she thought would be a decisive blow to his rib cage. The impact was loud and it made him grimace, but he withstood it. He was lucky to be wearing a steel armor, as no ordinary sword could put a dent in it.

"You thought I'd be toppled this easily?"

Her strength was definitely something to behold, but he practiced every day, beat up and often unable to stand at the end of the sessions. He was the one who won the tournament held to determine ranks, and as a Platoon leader with four Squads under him, failure was not an option. Resiliency was his new motto.

With a swift movement, he closed the small gap between them and began a last ditch counter-attack. He knew his endurance was nowhere near his opponent, so he had to win by going on the offensive.

Moira had let her guard down, stupefied that her strongest attack couldn't win her this round. This small lapse was what began her demise. John's strength wasn't something she experienced in Yamato, and she had been the one on the offensive practically the entire time, not experiencing his true power till now.

Under the powerful and decisive strikes of the soldier, her defense slowly crumbled until she fell to the ground, battered and powerless. The sword style of her opponent was heavy and direct, which naturally countered her light and frail body. Still, she couldn't believe that all her hard work was in vain.. It appeared that she still needed more training, which made her dejected. She wasn't a quitter, but it was still a hard pill to swallow.

Meanwhile, Henry and Terry finally let out a sigh of relief. This was the second most nerve-wracking experience of their lives, only after the moment where Derrick conquered their village in one fell swoop.

"You've done well My Lady. It's been a while since I've been forced to go all out, which is why we will still honor your demand"

John had walked to Moira and extended his hand. She snapped out of her mood, and lifted her head covered in sweat. Even though she lost, it allowed her to see her weaknesses and how to fix them. She grabbed his hand and got off the ground with a smile on her face. He was right, this wasn't a total loss.

"If you need a training partner, I'll be available if you ever need"

The man courteously bowed, making Moira laugh.

"Didn't you say you were going to honor my demand? Stop with these antics already! We're comrades now! I'll also hold you to that promise"

John awkwardly laughed while straightening himself up. This would be a tough habit to break, but he was a man of his word.

"My Lady, you've fought very well. May we know who trained you?"

The two other soldiers rejoined the group and asked, curious. To be able to give the strongest warrior in the army a run for his money was something praiseworthy, and they would be lying if they said they didn't want to meet the mysterious party behind it.

Moira scratched her nose and replied.

"I'm self-taught.."

Three jaws dropped. Uh? They understood correctly, didn't they? Seeing their disbelief, she laughed once again.

"I was defeated, so obviously my method has flaws. It's nothing impressive compared to your skills"

"My Lady, we simply cannot believe you've reached such a level by practicing alone. This means you're immensely talented"

The one who spoke was Terry, and the other two nodded in agreement. Even if they lazied off since arriving in this forest, they were still ex-soldiers of the Empire that received training, so they knew how impressive her achievement was.

"My Lady, why haven't you asked your husband to find a suitable trainer?"

The situation puzzled John, and since he now had to treat her like one of his own, he didn't shy away from asking it.

"Uh.. I.. simply haven't found the time.."

Moira's lie was so obvious that it made John sorry for even asking.. It appeared there were some things he didn't need to know. The atmosphere instantly got embarrassing, and she changed the subject. However, it was something she would decidedly ask Derrick once she returned from this mission. As his 'wife', she should enjoy the boons that came with it.

"Let's pack the gift and leave right away. We've been assigned to a village called Oleo, and we don't have any information on it. It'll take us a day to arrive, which means we can arrive tomorrow morning without stopping. I suggest a slight rest when we arrive at its borders to make sure we aren't caught fatigued and unable to defend ourselves. What do you think?"

The men analyzed her plan and found no objection. It was sound and clear. They all hoped it would be a walk in the park.


Somewhere in Terra's City Hall

"Are you saying you've seen the slave of Brigand leave with an unknown figure in the buffer zone?"

The Official's look was fierce and his aura pressed the spy in front of him to the ground. The agent was the best in his field, which was why Derrick nor Alma found out they were tracked. Rare were the people that could make him kowtow and feel afraid.

"And when did this happen?"

"Yest.. Yesterday"

The pressure suddenly increased five folds, and the barely holding on spy was flattened to the ground, his organs almost turning into mush.


Killing intent permeated the hall, and the spy's heart barely held on, pumping blood with much difficulty. After a few minutes of watching his subordinate on the verge of death, the Official relaxed his aura and allowed him to speak once again.

After much difficulty, he got himself back into a kowtowing position and continued to relate the event.

"My Lord, the reason why we delayed our report is that we wanted to learn the identity of this unknown party. We haven't found out his name, but we can confirm he has been spending large amounts of gold. We suspect that he's the party that Brigand Lancaster is trying to protect"

The Official rose from his throne and a sinister grin could be seen on his face.

"Nothing gets done in this city without my knowledge.."


Welcome to this website